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Experience Level



1-3 miles/day


8,600-9,300 ft

Registration Fee


Program Overview: Stroll to May Lake for a two-night backpacking trip with storyteller and naturalist Brian Shoor, who will be accompanied by a local artist! The trip kicks off with a Thursday evening get-together, where you’ll meet Brian and fellow adventurers, and review the route, Leave No Trace ethics, and safety tips. On Friday, hike a few miles from Tioga Road to your home for the next two nights: May Lake. Located near Yosemite’s geographic center, at the base of Mt. Hoffmann, May Lake offers classic high country scenery — and the perfect setting for some entertaining, and enlightening, stories. Brian, who spent 20 years as the manager of the May Lake High Sierra Camp, will regale you with tales, from the story behind May Lake’s name and the history of the old road that once passed nearby, to the many stories that nature has to tell us. Along with hearing stories of the past and present, you will learn to bring your watercolors into the wilderness and paint on location. You will learn a unique way to record your experience in the mountains with watercolor. By the time you hop off the trail, you’ll have the skills to plan your next wilderness adventure and the inspiration to add to your art journal! Hike out on Sunday with plenty of your own tales to spin from a weekend in Yosemite’s stunning high country. 

Know Before You Go

  • When: Thursday, August 4 (orientation at 7:30 pm) to Sunday, August 7. Depart for backpacking trip on August 5 (morning), return August 7 at around 2 pm.
  • Where: May Lake.
  • Registration includes: Guided backpacking trip, park entry (as needed), bear-proof canister rental, Yosemite Wilderness permit, and two nights of tent camping at a shared campsite at Upper Pines Campground before and after the trip (August 4 and 7). There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass or campsite.
  • Lodging options: Tent camping (included). Or upgrade to Tuolumne Lodge for an additional fee (August 4 & 7). Camping and lodging dates cannot be adjusted. The upgrade option expires 30 days before the program. Lodging information will be sent immediately after registering.
  • Experience level: No experience necessary!

View a suggested packing list.

COVID-19: We have implemented special safety measures to keep participants and instructors safe during the ongoing pandemic. Please review our COVID-19 procedures for details.